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Eleven ‘newbies’ turned up to the November 2012 meeting of the Small Business Network, representing eight different business types. The meeting, once again held at the welcoming Sable D’Or in Muswell Hill, north London, was particularly busy this month, with close on 30 small business owners getting together to enjoy the benefits of networking.

Emma and Tricia of Farbrook Farm were perhaps the most unusual, as they sell bird feed and bird feeders online, by phone and post. As birds need our help in the winter, their Garden Bird Selection Box is an ideal way to add a little colour to your home office, or would make a great Christmas gift – and it comes with a free cosy roosting pocket to give a bird a home.

Staying with the garden theme, Colin Boggon runs Botanic Gardens Design and Build, which does what it says on the tin. Colin, who was at his first-ever networking group, specialises in Victorian mosaics to brighten up anyone’s garden space.

Amanda Neilson helps brighten up our homes and our home offices, as she is an interior designer. Amanda also has contacts to carpenters, painters and other skilled tradesmen who can carry out the most demanding decorating jobs.

Two financial advisers – always useful for small business owners – were among the newcomers.  Andy Weigelt, who is based at Elite Mortgage Services in Enfield, specialises in mortgages, income protection, including life and illness insurance, and medical insurance for individuals or companies, while Shan Phoenix offers financial planning at Charles Derby Work Management.

Dan Perry of Sangha Designs designs and builds web sites, another very useful service for small business owners everywhere, while no one knows when they might need Jacky Lewis’ mediating services. Jacky specialises in helping to sort out any confrontational situation, and while that normally means helping people with relationships or parenting, small businesses can sometimes benefit from an impartial mediator, too.

Claire Keating became the second jeweller from Stella and Dot to attend the Small Business Network, complimenting SBN member Vicky William’s Jewels of Distinction www.jewelsofdistinction.co.uk with a different style of product. Claire sets up ‘pop-up’ shops at your home for a group of friends to get together and buy. Vicky had her beautiful handmade jewellery for sale at the meeting – including a new jewellery making kit. And for those who don’t think they can go it alone, Vicky also has vouchers entitling the holder to a one-hour jewellery-making session under her expert tutelage.

The last guest, Veronica Dodds, is a clinical hypnotherapist, Reiki master and astrologist. During December and January she is offering a half-price hypnotherapy session for those small business owners – or anyone else – wishing to give up smoking.

Long-established Small Business Network member Dominique Meeroff www.metamorphicjourneys.co.uk runs regular metamorphic technique workshops to clear all the emotional and physical blockages. In addition, as one half of the exciting and innovative healing modality, Sacred Life Alchemy, she is holding a ‘Transformation for the Year Ahead’ workshop on 9 December at Liverpool Street with kinesiologist Ella Owen www.sacredlifealchemy.com.

Other special sessions from small business members of the network include Karen Knott’s www.primetimebusiness.co.uk half day business planning session for people who hate business planning on 3 December; Isa Levy is currently offer a special ‘rent-a-painting’ deal for just £2.50 a week; graphic designer Paul Rumball www.nichecreativeservices.com offered free ‘creative clinics before and after the meeting for anyone who felt they could benefit from branding and marketing feedback on their websites or leaflets (that’s all of us I think). whilst business coach Rebecca Fishman www.labofself.com offered a complimentary half hour consultation to anyone at the meeting.

Elena and Gloria from Lexis School of Languages www.lexislondon.com plan to set up lunch-time language courses in Finchley Central, while Nichola Charalambou of Creative Writes www.creativewrites.co.uk now offers children’s creative writing sessions and one-to-one tutoring either in person or via Skype.

The 2pm Talk: How To Make Your Admin Both Fun and Productive

This month’s speaker, Franziska Birke www.franziskabirke.com, a regular attendee at Small Business Network meetings, gave tips on improving motivation and productivity, something every small business owner working alone needs at some time or another.  Franziska discussed how small business owners can manage themselves – how to organise their day and ensure they take the breaks they need to refresh body and mind – and looked at ways of improving the working environment. I dread to think what Franziska would say when she saw my working environment, complete with stacks of magazines and papers all over the floor!

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